I moved to Hawai’i for the first time in back in 2013. Out here there’s the endless smell of coconut lotion, sunny days in Waikiki, and the echo of “alohhhaaaa” running through the air within 10 ft of any tourist trap. O’ahu is my home now, however there are a few things I wish I would have known about living in the islands before arriving with all my belongings to the airport.
When I say bugs I mean, they will be in places you’ve never expected. I grew up in dry climates where finding a bug meant sticking your hand behind an old piece of equipment or somewhere in the attic. In Hawai’i however, centipedes escape out of your car air conditioning vent, cockroaches fly through the air (yeah I said fly), and there’s spiders that look like they escaped from the Halloween section of Walmart. They don’t include these critters in the scenic post cards.
I come from Southern California, I know traffic (5 south @ 5 pm is a party). However never in my life could I imagine it possible that it would take me over and hour and a half to travel 8 miles. You think Hawai’i and you imagine these quaint dirt roads with palm trees growing out of grass spurts on the side, instead you are surronded by a river of metal and asphalt going a maximum of 15 mph. At least that’s what it’s like in the Honolulu area.
3. It’s Not Always Sunny
Major tropical storms were not on my radar when I packed up my bags for Hawai’i… but they were on the weather station’s. My first month living in Honolulu I experienced Hurrican Flossy and a week’s worth of heavy tropical storms. Here’s my advice to anyone setting their sights for the island’s -Ditch the cotton pull overs and get your self a water proof wind breaker, you’ll thank me when you’re dry from from the rain, and not sweating like a rotisserie pig.
4.Small Island + Small Living
Just like any living area set in a city and/or urban area, there’s limited space. Just we are limited due to an ocean hugging us in less than 100 miles in any place that you stand on island. This all means, the apartments and homes are a lot smaller, car parking lots lack parking for more than 75% of drivers, and crowding can happen in a snap of two sandy fingers.
5. It’s Not Always Like Living A Vacation
What you won’t see in the surf cult movies, and surf magazines, is the behind the scenes. Life still happens in Hawai’i. We still have bad hair days, have to pay rent, have to wait in long grocery lines. Hawai’i tends to be romanticized for obvious reasons, but people still live normal day to day lies except they are on an island.
Despite the critters, long traffic commutes, rainy days, and not actually being able to escape reality, the bad days are out weighed by the plenty of sunny afternoons we are gifted with, and turtles that like to share beaches with us. I could not be more grateful about living on this gem in the middle of the ocean.